Some may say that my school days were fairly traditional. I went to a local comprehensive high school, was studious, did well in my GSCE’s, went on to do A-Levels and then picked Business Studies to read at Uni. At the time I thought this choice of degree would keep my options open for many different career paths, as well as knowing that getting into the business world would likely stand me in good stead for a job for life.
At University, Human Resources stood out for me as my favourite subject. I picked HR to exclusively study in my final year and was already planning out the kind of HR career I’d be seeking as soon as I graduated.
When I was 22 I looked for HR Administrator roles in the local papers (remember doing that?!), applied for a few and got one with a small business. I started immediately. A few years later I did my CIPD (a professional HR qualification) as well as a Masters degree in Business.
Fast forward 10 years and right before I got pregnant with the twins I was working for a large, billion dollar, Amercian-owned corporation as a HR Business Partner – where I supported a management team in the UK. I had a great salary, benefits, company car and prospects of climbing even further up the career ladder.
But that’s not at all where I am nowadays.
Now, when I try to explain what I do to anyone who asks, it always either confuses the heck out of whoever is listening – or I go for the easy option and say I’m a Social Media Manager (which only really covers a small percentage of my monthly income).
Truth be told, I now have a really modern career in a digital industry that is still in its infancy (ever evolving), in which no-one really knows for certain whether it will be around in 10 years time.
Sounds fun, hey?!
On paper I am a Freelance Social Media Manager, Blogger, Influencer, Freelance Writer, Freelance Photographer – I guess. Because in the last 4 years I have managed several social media accounts for clients, I’ve taken photos for clients for paying projects, I write this blog every week, I post to social media, I have written articles for websites…as well as lots of other things in-between.
But unlike my previous HR days right now there’s currently no set career path. No pre-written job descriptions. No proper industry standards. No life-time guarantee.
This is nothing like the kind of working environment that I’ve been used to.
I fell into all of this, as most people know. A blogging hobby that started 4 years ago now looks like this today. And the two main reasons that I don’t walk away and get a job that is more secure is because, 1) I literally LOVE everything about it and I haven’t felt this creative, empowered or excited about work in this way before, and 2) it’s incredibly flexible so I can do it all around my children being at school.
I guess whatever lies ahead for many of us bloggers/freelancers/influencers etc is still quite an uncertain path – but as the last few years have seen a huge boom in social media and everyone having an online presence I can’t see it going away any time soon. In fact, I can’t imagine a world without it all now.
So whilst I can’t really plan too far ahead and get too secure (i.e. who knows if Instagram will even be here in 5 years time?!) I can make sure that I keep my options open and keep learning as much as I can as I go along. It’s all about being adaptable, willing to change as well as being professional and canny. I’ve found so far that a lot of it involves playing to your own strengths vs not being afraid to take new risks.
So for me, as long as the ride carries on being this much fun then I’d like to stay on a little longer, if you please.
Love, Jess x